Chicago mom calls it quits on potty training–for now

The following will likely sound familiar to many parents. Unless you’re one of the Lucky Ones.

So this is part one. I specify this because there may be many parts to this saga, unfortunately. Some kids take to potty training right away, with gusto, proud of their accomplishments and Big Boy/Girlness.

Not my Elliott.

At least, not quite. Not enough.

This past Saturday, we implemented Lora Jensen’s three-day bootcamp-style potty training program. I’ve helped potty train several kids of all kinds of personalities over my seven years of nannying and this all-or-nothing approach works the best, by far, for pretty much everyone. None of this “let’s try to sit on the potty every 30 minutes.” No Pull-Ups. No half-assing it. Just expect to spend three full days watching him like a hawk and knee-deep in pee. Good times.

We did cheat a bit and use the forbidden Pull-Ups. I’m sorry, Lora Jensen, but I don’t have a washer/dryer in our unit and I’m not spending the quarters washing sheets every day. Plus, I’ve witnessed that it takes longer for toddlers to control themselves at night.

It started out OK. We had talked about the potty for a while beforehand. Elliott was interested in the books and especially his new packs of Thomas the Train and Sesame Street underwear.

As expected, he had a few accidents, and we ran to the potty. “Pee pee goes in the potty!” I repeated this all day, a broken record, trying to sound flat and not disappointed at all, but upbeat and encouraging, like a Good Mom. Then, finally, in the afternoon THERE WAS PEE PEE IN THE POTTY! HUZZAH! BRAVO!

There was much rejoicing, a cookie reward and an enthusiastic call to Grandma.

And then he had another accident. And another. And another. “Put your pee pee in the potty. Pee pee goes in the potty. Please tell Mommy BEFORE you have to go pee pee.”

Day two: He peed in the potty twice! I called my mother-in-law exclaiming with pride, telling her what a big boy he is. I put the phone up to his ear. He peed again.

I stayed calm. I was really, really calm, guys, I swear. So zen. The e-book says not to get frustrated, as it takes most kids to the end of the third day for everything to click. Elliott was ahead, then! It’s all fine. It’s all going to be OK and pay off in the end.

Day three: All out war. He cried every time I tried to put his underwear on. He refused to drink his juice and no matter how upbeat and positive I stayed, he threw several epic tantrums, scratching up his face in the process. I didn’t give in to the tantrums, and I dutifully reminded him that pee pee goes in the potty and tried to convince (not force) him to sit on the potty. I even broke out the bubbles and gaily pranced around the potty singing songs, in an attempt to make the potty less threatening, more fun. Potties are FUN, right?

It didn’t work. For the rest of the evening, there was pee everywhere, all the time. “Please don’t pee on Thomas the train, he doesn’t like that. It isn’t nice. Put your pee pee in the potty.” These words actually came out of my mouth. Desperation.

Day four: Enough. This is way too much of a power struggle right now. And what for? He’s not going into daycare or preschool yet. This morning there was crying about the underwear again, so I gave in and told him he could wear his blasted Pull-Ups. I don’t want this to be a huge fight. I don’t want him in therapy because he’s wetting the bed at 25 out of anxiety. I don’t want to be a quitter, but I want to be a Good Mom.

I’m going to let him stay in the forbidden Pull-Ups for 30 days or so and try again, unless he suddenly expresses interest beforehand. We’ll still read the books, watch the videos. His potty will still be in the bathroom and I’ll remind him that it’s there for him to use.

Sorry, Lora Jensen. Some kids just aren’t ready. Can I have a drink now? I think I’ve earned it, regardless of the outcome.

- Advertisement -


Dive Into Under the Sea Fun at the Shedd Aquarium

Discover sea creatures from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean seas with your little minnows.

See the New Trier Township High School 2024-2025 Academic Calendar

Find all the important dates on the New Trier Township High School calendar.

Fashioning Family and Business with Alice and Wonder’s Ali Reff

In 2015, Ali Reff was on top of the world. Living in Chicago, newly engaged and working for one of the largest global public...

These Are The Top 10 Healthiest Places to Live in Lake County

Explore Lake County’s healthiest places to live in 2024, ranked by Niche.

- Advertisement -